Sanford one of the Vikings' lucky seventh-rounders

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 22, 2012 - 9:03 AM

Jamarca Sanford stared down long odds by earning a starting job as a seventh-round pick, and he wants to make an even bigger impact.

Vikings safety Jamarca Sanford took the piece of paper and studied the list of names written on it.

Noel Scarlett, Chester Burnett, Giles Cole, Chad Beasley, Adrian Ward, Chandler Williams ...

"No idea," Sanford said when asked if he recognized the names or what they had in common.

Bill Slater, Josh Brown, Fred Tabrone, Bob Winkel, Carl Hilton, Benji Roland ...

Like Sanford, all of them were selected by the Vikings in the seventh round of the NFL draft. Since 1994, that's also been the final round of the draft.

"I never looked at the names on that list," Sanford said. "But I might have to now."

The Vikings have selected 53 players in the seventh round since they joined the NFL in 1961. Twenty of them have played at least one regular-season game for the Vikings. In number of career starts, Sanford (25) ranks fourth on that list behind only tight end Steve Jordan (149) and defensive backs Carl Lee (144) and Bobby Bryant (121).

"Jamarca was a seventh-rounder?" said Vikings defensive end D'Aundrae Reed, a seventh-rounder last year. "That just shows you that once you get in the league, it can be a whole different ballgame than it was on draft day."

Battle for job

Sanford has started the past six games. He'll make it seven in a row Sunday despite the fact that Mistral Raymond, the guy who beat him out in training camp, is back to 100 percent following a dislocated ankle. Raymond will rotate in for the second consecutive game, but coach Leslie Frazier wasn't about to move him ahead of a guy who has averaged nearly eight tackles, with a team-high four forced fumbles, over the past six games.

"We felt Jamarca was the backup for a reason," said Frazier, "but he has really played better than we thought he would in a starting role."

Hanging on to the starting job heading to Chicago is no small accomplishment. First, it's a division contest against a team the Vikings trail by one game. Second, if Bears quarterback Jay Cutler returns from his concussion, as the Vikings believe he will, the Bears have one of the league's most dangerous downfield passing games with receiver Brandon Marshall.

One reason the Vikings picked Raymond as their opening-day strong safety is his length, which comes in handy on deep passes. He's 3 inches taller and has longer arms and range than the 5-10 Sanford, whose draft stock fell because he was considered a weak cover guy deep downfield.

A common theme

Sanford has improved as a deep cover guy, but his limitations always will invite competition. But that's OK by him. He's traveled that road before.

From 2009 to 2011, he went head to head with Tyrell Johnson, a much preferred candidate. Johnson was a second-round pick that the Vikings traded up for in 2008. Yet Sanford prevailed, starting 15 games last year. Johnson, out of football, worked out for the Vikings earlier this season but wasn't signed.

"What I went through with Tyrell my second year really helped me this year," Sanford said. "After my first year, they told me to come back and me and Tyrell would compete for the starting job. I lost the job and it tore me down. I was hurt, and I took a step back because I was mentally gone."

Sanford's improved attitude is one of the reasons Raymond hasn't pried his old job loose from Sanford's grip.

"It's nothing that Mistral did or didn't do," defensive coordinator Alan Williams said. "Jamarca has just earned the right to keep starting. And what I don't think people realize is how much of a leader Jamarca is. His practice habits and his communication skills are exceptional. He treats practice like it's a ballgame, and that's rare."

Making his mark

Frazier was the team's defensive coordinator when it drafted Sanford. He remembers the pick being made more for special teams, at which Sanford continues to excel.

"We saw some things [at safety] that were the reasons why he was a seventh-round pick," Frazier said. "But we also saw some things that showed he had the potential to be a very good NFL player."

Sanford isn't heading to the Pro Bowl any time soon. But he has exceeded the typical expectations that come with a seventh-round pick.

"But I don't think I've exceeded my expectations yet," he said. "Not yet. What I want to be is a player that's known. A player everybody knows about. I don't want to be just another guy who played a few games in the NFL."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
Sacramento 85 FINAL
San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
Golden State 102
Portland 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Pittsburgh 1 FINAL
Colorado 3
Montreal 1 FINAL
Anaheim 3
Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
Campbell 64 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
Maine 66 FINAL
Albany 83
Duquesne 81 FINAL
Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
Vermont 66
Sacred Heart 85 FINAL
Bryant 91
Richmond 56 FINAL
Massachusetts 53
Wake Forest 51 FINAL
Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 FINAL
Fresno State 68
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Illinois 69
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Nevada 62
Boise State 68 FINAL
San Jose St 51
San Diego St 60 FINAL
Oregon 65 FINAL
Oregon State 62
UC Santa Barbara 98 FINAL
Hawaii 90
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9




question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question